After months of talking and planning, parts have been set in motion to improve the gateway area in northern York County.
In a recent meeting between York County planners and Carowinds-area business owners, a general outline was drawn for a proposed overlay district - a zoning area that could bring additional regulations to the Carowinds area off I-77 Exit 90.
"The concept of an overlay district is to lay out rules across the entire district, no matter what the property type," County Manager Jim Baker said.
Baker said it would primarily be up to the property owners to decide what the district could be used to accomplish.
Some business owners suggested matching signage in the area, beautification regulations or more pedestrian walkways to improve connectivity. The university area in northern Charlotte was discussed as an example of what could be accomplished with an overlay district. The area surrounding the UNC Charlotte campus has similar business and directional signs and a similar appearance that lets people know when they have entered and exited that part of the city.
Peggy Washko, sales director of the Comfort Inn near Carowinds, and other property owners agreed that one-way streets and divided highways in the area make it difficult for drivers.
Uniform, planned-development types of signs are something that an overlay district could pave the way for, Baker said.
The proposed zone would be bordered by the state line on the north side, Steele Creek on the west side, and Flint Hill Road on the east side, according to York County Engineer Mark Kettlewell. It would extend as far south as the South Carolina welcome center on I-77.
The boundaries are preliminary and will likely expand or shrink depending on whether property owners opt to be included in the district, Kettlewell said.
The gateway area overlay district would be the eighth in York County, according to County Planning Manager Steve Allen.
The Airport Overlay District, which was approved in November, was implemented to regulate the height and type of buildings surrounding the runways and to prevent hazardous materials from being stored near the Rock Hill York County airport.